Educational Psychology

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Psychological foundations of education

Video games for the greater good

Nic VanMeerten in Education Sciences building

Nic VanMeerten has enjoyed playing video games since he was a kid. Today, he is investigating how people learn in video games and how this information can be used for the greater good—to make learning fun. Read more.

Understand the way people think, learn, and teach

As a student in the program, you’ll study the psychological processes critical to education. Research in our program focuses on cognitive and social-emotional development, including high-level cognition and factors shaping and enhancing learning throughout the lifespan. You'll use this knowledge to develop better educational processes and procedures for schools and other educational agencies, businesses, human and social service organizations, health care providers, government agencies, and more.


  • Faculty (Ph.D only)
  • Research scientists at universities and companies
  • Government agencies
  • Other educational settings (e.g., K-12 school research offices)
  • Human and social service organizations
  • Health care organization evaluator/researcher
  • Research and development centers

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How to apply

“I joined the Educational Psychology department because it offered an applied study of psychology along with a focus on real-world issues. The faculty are leaders in their fields, and they provide an exceptional learning environment, in both the classroom and research labs.”

Anthony Schulzetenberg headshot

Anthony SchulzetenbergPh.D. student |

Interests: Personal qualities and stereotype threats that may inhibit success in adults, how social psychological interventions can promote healthy self-concepts and interrupt damaging recursive cycles that perpetuate negative stereotypes

Work: Anthony owned a small business for 10 years, where he worked with a wide array of professionals in a health setting. He was awarded a national grant he currently uses to better understand the internal struggles in learning and comprehension, particularly within underrepresented college students. Through psychology and research, he is working to narrow the achievement gap in colleges across the country.

Programs & degrees


Masters and Ph.D. students choose between two areas of emphasis:

Learning and cognition / educational technology (M.A., Ph.D.)

  • Study how people think and learn
  • Research how people learn with technology and design research-based technologies to improve learning

Social psychological and developmental processes (M.A., Ph.D)
Study how social processes contribute to the success of schools and other educational organizations


Talent Development and Gifted Education Certificate
Develop, implement, and supervise programs to teach gifted and talented students in K-12 and postsecondary schools and other settings

EPSY 5135: Human relations workshop

  • Four credit course approved to meet the Minnesota Department of Education requirement for licensure
  • Includes simulation activities, curriculum writing, and supervised practice in basic human relations skills emphasizing social psychological principles involved in stereotyping and prejudice and their implications for educational practice

Faculty & staff

Learning and cognition / educational technology

William M. Bart headshot

William M. | Lab

  • Relationships among cognition, instruction, and testing
  • Gifted and talented education
  • Chess expertise
Panayiota Andrea Kendeou headshot

Panayiota Andrea | Lab

  • Cognitive processes in reading comprehension
  • Change of pre-existing beliefs and misconceptions
  • Technology-based comprehension interventions and assessments
Robert D. Tennyson headshot

Robert D. | Lab

  • Cognitive processes in reading comprehension
  • Change of pre-existing beliefs and misconceptions
  • Technology-based comprehension interventions and assessments
Keisha Varma

Keisha | Lab

  • Cognitive processes in science learning
  • Scientific visualizations and student learning outcomes
  • Teacher knowledge development and effective teaching practice
Sashank Varma headshot

Sashank Varma Program coordinator | Lab

  • Understanding of abstract mathematical concepts
  • Long-term memory and language understanding
  • Computational models of mathematical reasoning, language understanding, and spatial problem solving
Steve Yussen headshot

Steve | Lab

  • Memory and comprehension of stories
  • Narrative exchanges between children and parents (e.g., storybook reading, reminiscence)
  • The role of culture on narrative storytelling and memory

Social psychological & developmental processes

Geoffrey Maruyama headshot

Geoffrey MaruyamaDepartment chair | Lab

  • Achievement processes in schools and other organizations
  • Connections between social processes and educational success
  • Research and community partnerships in challenged communities and urban settings